Chicago, IL —
Pie Hole Pizza Joint, a Boystown staple and one of the neighborhood's go-to pizza spots, has shut its doors. The orange notices in the windows point toward a shut down by the City of Chicago for licensing and tax issues.
Owner Doug Brandt confirmed to ChicagoPride.com that the city closed the resaurant for operating without the required $600 business license.
"I've never seen it happen, but a city employee worked after 5pm just to shut us down," Brandt said.
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, Brandt announced the closing and gave a forthright and blunt explanation.
"Here's the deal," Brandt explained, "For the last year or so, we've been consistently three months behind in paying sales taxes to the state. We've simply never been able to get caught up paying our taxes as well as the penalties, fees and interest that the state charges."
Brandt continued to describe the license and permit charges from the city that drove the restaurant to close as well, including fines of $750 every month for operating without the $600 city license, as well as other fees. The closure comes after a location change from Roscoe and Halsted to Pie Hole's current location on Broadway last year.
"I now have eight employees who will be adding to the unemployment rate," Brandt told ChicagoPride.com.
Brandt has been a strong advocate and business leader in Chicago's LGBT community, where he most-recently collected canned goods
for the Lakeview Pantry.
It has been a tough economic atmosphere in Chicago's LGBT neighborhood, with bars and restaurants closing at a worrying pace. From the shut-down of Cocktail to Firefly
closing its doors, the sagging economy has hit many businesses hard. There have been a few bright spots and success stories, like popular new eatery Taverna 750
, but those seem to be the exception to the rule.
In fact, Brandt pointed to the sluggish economic climate for some of the business's problems, saying, "Regardless of our outcome, please continue to support your local businesses. None of them are rolling in dough right now."
It remains to be seen if Pie Hole will eventually recover, given that the restaurant's website asks for the community's "patience" while they decide how to move forward and pay their back fees and penalties while closed.
Brandt told ChicagoPride.com he does hope to reopen.
One thing is for sure, many of the neighborhood's late night revelers will have to find a new place to feed their post-club hunger, at least for the time being.